Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Misfits Final film of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe 1961

The Misfits 1961
Actors' Final Films, Final Performances

Directed by John Huston, the 1961 movie, The Misfits starred Clark Gable,
The Misfits
Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach.
There is a lot outside of the movie itself that makes it noteworthy. It would be the final film for both Gable and Monroe. It opened February 1, 1961.

This page includes the baptism of Clark Gable's son, November 1961; news, videos. Also information on the deaths of Tyrone Power, Sr. and Tyrone Power, Jr. The final films of father and son.

The Hollywood community stuck together. The creative people in the movie industry formed lasting friendships. The actors, directors, writers, designers and craftspeople helping one another through tragedies. 

The film was written by Monroe's then (1961) ex-husband, Arthur Miller. Monroe and Miller had married in 1956. Miller had been her third husband after James Dougherty and baseball great, Joe DiMaggio.

Reviewers praised Gable's performance in The Misfits. "His role is a character he and all his fans loved best -- a lusty, virile cowpoke who hunted wild horses by day and wild women at night. Some of his love scenes with Marilyn are torrid
Clark Gable photo
reminders of the old Gable and Jean Harlow movies of the '30s. ....

Also, they talked about the grueling schedule, conditions in the hot Nevada desert and his tragic death.

"Gable shot the final scenes of the movie last Nov. 4, suffered a heart attack two days later and died 10 days after that."
 --The Ocala Star-Banner (Florida), January 24, 1961

Clark Gable died November 16, 1960 at the age of 59. The film was released after his death. 

Gable had been working with Jean Harlow on Saratoga when she suddenly and unexpectedly died. The film had to be completed with stand-ins and lookalikes back in 1937.

Newspaper article, 1961 review The Misfits pt.1
Newspaper article, 1961 review The Misfits pt.2

Per his wishes, his wife had his body interred in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park beside his third wife, Carole Lombard. Mrs Gable said a third tomb adjacent to her husband's had been reserved for herself. Kay Williams Gable died in 1983. They are near the bodies of Irving Thalberg, Florenz Ziegfeld, Will Rogers and Jean Harlow.

Gable received full military honors at his funeral honoring his service as an air runner in bombing missions during World War II. His wife, Kay Williams Gable, was pregnant and gave birth to their son after Gable's death.

News reports talked of his heart disease but his wife also had heart problems. As she was pregnant, people kept watch on her and she was able to deliver her baby successfully to everyone's relief and delight.

Cat Ballou with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin was Nat King Cole's final film. It was released months after his death.

The final film of actor Frank Morgan, well known as The Wizard (and other roles) in The Wizard of Oz was Key to the City from 1950 also starring Loretta Young and Clark Gable. The movie came out after his death. By then, Morgan had been working on Annie Get Your Gun. He was replaced by Louis Calhern. Morgan had been in other films including Bombshell with Jean Harlow and The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

Sadly, Loretta Young suffered a miscarriage while on the set of Key to the City. Newspapers spoke of her fainting and having been carried to her dressing room by Clark Gable. After a stay in the hospital they were unable to save the baby. Young and her husband ad executive Tom Lewis had three other children.

Coincidentally, they said that Gable had told his wife he would never want a funeral like that of Tyrone Power just a few years earlier in 1958. 

The Death of Tyrone Power

Power, at 44, had died of a heart attack in Spain while making the film Solomon and Sheba. Gina Lollobrigida played Sheba. The film was recast with Yul Brynner
Tyrone Power
playing Solomon. 

Similar to Clark Gable, Tyrone Power's wife also had been pregnant when he died. Cesar Romero read Thomas Wolfe's The Promises of America as a eulogy. He also had a military funeral, five Marine officers served as pall bearers.

Some in the papers called his funeral a spectacle. It was overflowing with people. A couple of months after the actor's death, his widow, Deborah Power gave birth to their son, Tyrone Power IV on January 22, 1959. Power had two daughters previously. This baby was his third child and his only son. 

His performance as Leonard Vole in Witness for the Prosecution, 1957 was his last completed film. With an incredible cast, the film also starred Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.

The actor sometimes went by the name Tyrone Power, Jr. His father, also an actor went by Tyrone Power, Sr. The Miracle Man, 1932 was made with Hobart Bosworth instead of Tyrone Power, Sr. who died at 62. The Big Trail, 1930 was his final film. It also starred John Wayne.

"Power's death was a tragic duplicate of that of his father, Tyrone Power II. His father was fatally stricken on the set of a picture, The Miracle Man. He died a few hours later in the arms of his son. 

"Power had continued a theatrical dynasty begun  by his grandfather on the Dublin stage in 1827. Tyrone Power the first was a celebrated comedian whose baptismal name comes from County Tyrone, Ireland."
-- The Day, November 15, 1958 (New London, CT)

In 1962, Monroe started work on Something's Got to Give, a remake of the Cary Grant - Irene Dunne film My Favorite Wife, but the film was never completed. Please see links below for a more on that film. Marilyn Monroe died August 5, 1962 at the age of 36. 

You often see such a change in an actor throughout their career, comparing their early work to later. Their first film roles may well be bit parts. Why is there an extra interest in an actor's last role, their final performance? 

Sadly you cannot tell what will be a star's (directors, etc.) last movie any more than what will become a huge hit or a cult classic. Rather than making it into a sad time, it can be a time to celebrate not only one movie and an actor's entire body of work. 

I read about a woman who hated having her photo taken. Then the unthinkable happened, her child died. She had photos of her child, but very few of herself and her baby together. A regret was that she hadn't taken more pictures of the two of them together. You never know when something will happen.

The Misfits Movie Trailer

Marilyn Monroe's Screen Test, hair, make-up, costumes for The Misfits
Arthur Miller wrote the film especially for her. Includes comments from Kevin McCarthy who plays Marilyn's divorced husband.
Leonard Maltin (and Mary Hart) on Entertainment Tonight 1991. 

The show, sometimes just called ET has been on the air since 1981. Print, radio and television were our sources of Hollywood news and celebrity gossip long before we had the Internet.

Short silent footage of the stars from a press conference

Baptism of Clark Gable's Son, November 1961

"John Clark Gable would be baptized in a dress made by famous designer Don Loper who said, 'It's suitable for the son of the former king of Hollywood.' Loper who makes dresses for some of Hollywood's biggest stars, presented the gown to the late actor's widow Kay as a present to the baby who was born March 20.

"'It's the kind of dress that England's Prince Charles wore,' Loper said. 'It's a very formal dress made of batiste linen and balencien lace. It has 100 yards of lace.' 

"Loper added that the child's bonnet and undergarments will be made of the same material. 'The dress was made with great love because all the people in my sewing department are fond of Mrs. Gable,' Loper said."
-- excerpt from a UPI article in The Schenectady Gazette, June 3, 1961

Newsreel and color footage, 1961. The child of Clark Gable and Kay Williams Gable is christened....


Louella Parsons is a godmother of ten-week old John Clark Gable, who was born March 20, 1961. The child was carried by one of his godmothers, Mrs. Carl Leigh. Godfather was Vince Williams, brother of Mrs. Gable. 

Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny and Mary Livingston, Cesar Romero are there. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stack. Leo Carillo and Mervyn Leroy and Fred Astaire were among the 100 invited guests.
-- Information from an AP article run in several papers. One is titled "Young Gable wails during Christening"

Clark Gable also had a daughter, named Judy Lewis. Her mother was actress Loretta Young. Some said that Lewis never knew Gable, but she met him when she was a child. It was only confirmed to her that he was her father she was in her thirties.

Judy Lewis was born in 1935. Her book, Uncommon Knowledge is fascinating and even new copies are very reasonably priced. Books like these give an idea of the culture of Old Hollywood and the times back in the 1930s and 1940s.

John Gable has children, Kayley Gable, born 1986 and Clark James Gable, 1988.

The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons by Samantha Barbas

Since we're talking about famous children and grandchildren, Jennifer Grant, daughter of actors Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon was born in 1966. She gave birth to a son, whom she named Cary Benjamin, in August 2008.

Cary Grant stopped making movies when his daughter was born, so he could spend more time with her. Walk Don't Run, his final film came out in 1966.

Hollywood fashion designer Don Loper played himself in a famous 1955 episode of I Love Lucy, The Fashion Show. He worked for big studios such as MGM and is said to have introduced Judy Garland to Vincent Minnelli.

Cesar Romero was The Joker on Batman

Prince Charles of England was born November 14, 1948, several years before Gable's son.

Keep your eye on your local PBS schedule. There is an older edition of the series Great Performances called The Making of The Misfits. You may see it aired again sometime.

Related Pages of Interest:

You can tell them Clark Gable left his jacket at your place: Auctions & Memorabilia

Clark Gable Marries Kay Williams July 1955

William Powell after the death of Jean Harlow: Includes: The final films of Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe

My Favorite Wife, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne; with video, information on the 1962 remake that was never completed; Something's Got to Give with Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse. Video includes deleted scenes and news.

George Burns vs Clark Gable Gracie's Plan Burns and Allen

Pop, Rock and Country Memorial Songs Inspiration from Monty Python, The Beatles, Jim Henson

The Death of Jean Harlow

Carole Lombard and William Powell

Buying and Selling and Buying Back Academy Awards, Stephen Spielberg, John Lennon, Vivien Leigh

Fan girls chasing Clark Gable 1930s, 40s in cars and on foot: tear his clothes, nibble his ears and more

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